Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  April 5, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT

12:00 am
>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight, bryan cranston, you knew him as walter white in the hit television series "breaking bad." he is now lyndon johnson in "all the way" on broadway. >> i think any actor thinks of broadway as the pinnacle of their career and i certainly have it on my bucket list to do a broadway show. that was going to be very exciting for me if it was possible. the zite geist of "breaking bad" created such a fervor that it got a lot of attention and i was caught up in that maelstrom of injury and thought, well, i have an opportunity now. >> this is the most important election of your lifetime and the choices couldn't be
12:01 am
clearer -- peace or war, brotherhood or division, prosperity or poverty, a march into a bright future or retreat into a dark past! it is all or nothing! and every single one of you needs to go out there and fight for every single vote in every single part of this great country of ours! god bless you! >> charlie: bryan cranston for the hour, next. >> there's a saying around here: you stand behind what you say. around here, we don't make excuses, we make commitments. and when you can't live up to
12:02 am
them, you own up and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it, when you know where to look. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> from the first time i turned the corner on to this street and saw this with my name above the title on a broadway house -- >> charlie: yeah. it stopped me cold. i couldn't move. i couldn't believe it. now to see this whole thing
12:03 am
happening, an emotional moment. oh, my god, because you have hopes, aspirations that something like this could happen but you never actually think it's going to, really. you know, then it does. > i wanted to pick up the phone. >> charlie: you shared this? i did. i called my wife and daughter and i said, i've got to show you a little picture. i took a picture of that and sent it to her and it's, like, you're kidding! my wife is screaming and daughter is laughing because, of course, to them, i'm just the goofy guy that lives at home. >> charlie: and you're seeing a guy above the marquee in the hottest play on broadway. bryan cranston makes his broadway debut as president lyndon baines johnson in "all the way," best known for his emmy awarding role walter white in his hit television series "breaking bad."
12:04 am
(siren) (gunshot) (screaming) ♪ (truck horn blowing)
12:05 am
(motor revving) (sirens) (traffic sounds) ♪ >> charlie: outside the neil simon theatre in new york, we couldn't help but run into some of the fans! (talking at the same time) >> in a good way? come see the play! >> we would like to but we're only here a day. we'll come back. >> come today! come on! >> we're such fans of yours. oh, thank you, nice to meet you. >> charlie: we also went backstage. >> well, here's the entrances we have going backstage. here we have some props over here i want to show you. >> charlie: yeah. his favorite -- just a little
12:06 am
cutting, all that's needed. hoover's favorite prop. >> charlie: people forget lyndon johnson was the guy that a put this stuff in the white house, the taping. >> he did. he told nixon, you're going to need this because you're going to forget what people tell you in private. so he considered a recorded phone call private. so make sure they tell you in person -- and he said for the memoirs. so he kind of planted that seed. well, maybe he's right. (laughter) >> charlie: oh, my goodness. these are my little ear lobes. i've named this one. this is called left. >> charlie: this is left and right. >> yeah. >> charlie: did you put this right on your ear? >> yeah, i just put them with a little glue. something like that. >> charlie: yeah. andetand it gives me an extra -- >> charlie: they just hang
12:07 am
there. >> it's like i was wearing heavy earrings. whoa! yeah. (laughter) would you like to try them? >> charlie: and this is the phone. >> remember these, rotary dial? >> charlie: yeah, rotary dial. and these are the hats? >> a number of hats. we have 20 different actors and we have, like, 38 different characters. so people are taking on and off wigs all over the place and it's a madhouse back here during a show. >> charlie: hats are interesting because jack kennedy would never wear a hat and johnson wore a cowboy hat all the time. >> he did and he looked right in a cowboy hat. but it's a very dangerous thing for a president to wear any kind of hat. you remember michael dukakis. >> charlie: right. he lost the election right there. >> charlie: it was like this doesn't belong. >> i remember that candidate obama was given a sombrero.
12:08 am
they said, put it on, put it on! that's an election killer right there. >> charlie: when had you done theater before this, the last time? >> i did two plays in between -- like a year and a half between the end of "malcolm in the middle" and the beginning of "breaking bad." >> charlie: you were always anxious to get back if you could find time within the schedule. >> yeah. and if you get a play that resonates within you and makes sense and seems challenging, i mean, that's what you're looking for. >> charlie: we sat down for an extended interview about this role and his career. so you finished "breaking bad." you were on top of the world. why this? why lyndon johnson on broadway for bryan cranston? >> well, i think any actor looks at doing broadway as the pinnacle of their career and i certainly had it on my bucket list to be able to do a broadway
12:09 am
show, i mean, that was going to be very exciting for me if that was possible. the zitegeist of "breaking bad" created such a fervor that it got a lot of attention and i was caught up in that maelstrom of energy, and i thought, well, i have an opportunity now. so i knew that, after 14 years of doing television for 7 with "malcolm in the middle" and six with "breaking bad," that it was time to purpos push away and sty from that ubiquitous nature of television and hide out, so to speak, in the theater and do a play that was hopefully important and a character that i can sink my teeth into, and this was both of those days. >> charlie: how much did you know about lyndon johnson other than the fact that during vietnam he was the president? >> you know, i think the
12:10 am
interesting concept is that, for most people, when they think of lyndon johnson, they think of the failures of vietnam, and that's his legacy. and here we are the 50t 50th anniversary of the first year of his presidency, and civil rights act -- >> charlie: which this play is about. >> which this play is about. the first year of his president presidency. and i think it's credible and important to be able to revisit that legacy, not in an historical revisionist sort of way, but to say what were the accomplishments that he actually took? >> charlie: there are people who think that vietnam is a scar, but it's important for a kind of balancing, for what he accomplished in extraordinary legislative achievements and a great society. >> i agree. i agree. you don't want to diminish the unfortunate condition of vietnam. even lyndon, in my research -- i
12:11 am
was listening to many, many tapes, phone conversations that he had, and he's talking with dick russell, his mentor in the senate, and said, i just don't see how we can win this. why are we even there? we don't have any business there. why would i send kids off there to die, for what? you know, he was lamenting the fact that there is no rightful place for america to be involved in that war. and yet the escalation was certainly on his shoulders and he listened to his advisers and generals, and robert mcnamara, and pushed forward. i think my theory is i think it was his political hubris that did that. >> charlie: political hubris? yes, that he did not want to be known as the first president to lose a war. >> charlie: he said that. yeah.
12:12 am
he did not want to be vulnerable to attacks by barry goldwater during the campaign of '64 that he was weak, soft on military, you know, and scared, have the red scare come in and be a factor in that election. >> charlie: he's an interesting guy. i know a lot of people think he's the most interesting president of the last -- you know, after roosevelt, probably the most interesting guy to inhabit the office. >> i think so. >> charlie: just the largeness of the personality. >> unbelievable. i think bill moyer said lyndon johnson is the most interesting of the 11 people i've ever met. he is the full spectrum of emotion. you cannot assign any one adjective to lyndon johnson. you have to use all of them, he is mecurial and impassioned and
12:13 am
wallowing in self pity and funny, and threatening and ferocious and you never knew what part of lyndon johnson you would receive when you walked into his office. >> charlie: probably depended on what his needs were. >> absolutely. and his political acumen, the flip side of the political hiewb brings coin, was unmatched since roosevelt. he knew everyone. everyone in the house of representatives, anyone in the senate, and he knew what those senators and congressmen wanted for their own political base and needs and, so, he gave them -- he worked hard to give them what they wanted so he could get from them what he needed. >> charlie: politics was a transaction. >> it was a beautiful thing, in his words. he loved it. he loved it! he lived for it. >> charlie: loved the game. loved it!
12:14 am
it was brutal on him and it cost him blood, sweat and tears, but i think that's the difference. >> charlie: dick russell tell you he'd rip your arm off and beat you over the head with it. >> with your own arm, yeah, metaphorically and maybe literally, too, if it had to come to that. >> charlie: when you began to figure out -- you talked about before as an actor how that kind of you began to get inside a character, you know, and, by the end of your process, you are him. >> well, yes. >> charlie: you tell me. in a way, yes. i mean, whenever an actor first starts a production, a play, a movie, whatever, the character is floating somewhere out there and the more research you do and the more you allow that character to be absorbed into your being, the more secure you feel. and it feels like there's a
12:15 am
transitional period to where you got it and it comes inside. from that point on, you hold on and you let that character live. and when you read them source material or comments from the director or the writer about your text or character, it then goes through that filter that you've created and either sits well or right or not, and you might -- night after night, i'm trying something -- >> charlie: really? oh, absolutely. >> charlie: give me an example of that. >> there's a passage in the play where i'm manipulating hoofer. >> charlie: j. edgar hoover. played brilliantly by michael mccain. and i just got off the phone with the senator -- with the governor from mississippi, whose name is also johnson, and he's not doing anything about looking for these three boys, the three boys that went missing during freedom summer. and i convinced the governor
12:16 am
that i'm going to send the f.b.i. down there. oh, no, no, no, no! it's better than sending down the federal marshals and u.s. army, ain't it? okay, okay, okay. then i tell hoofer the governor waltzed the f.b.i. in to look for these kids. and hoofer says, well, i would be happy to, mr. president, but we don't have jurisdiction. he said, no, no, i talked to bobbie about that and he said we've got the lindbergh statute on our side. it occurred to me i was probably lying about that, too. so last night or before, i just said, no, no, i talked to bobbie about that -- and i indicated to walter jenkins, no, no, i talked to bobbie about that, indicating i have no idea what i talked to him about, and it just got a laugh. >> charlie: so this is a great -- >> yeah, so you're constantly allowing it to stay alive. you know, i don't think i ever really want it to set in
12:17 am
concrete to where, no matter what happens, no matter what audience you have at any given time that you're doing the same performance night after night, the same words but there is a different feeling to it. >> charlie: does it matter how you felt? sometimes people talk about actors may give a different performance because they're feeling different that night. >> very true. yeah. i mean, i think it's important to be honest about that and, if you're not feeling well, you may have to augment your natural performance and maybe play it under a little bit. hopefully, with the same intensity or same intention at those places, but maybe not with the same volume or -- >> charlie: what does the audience do for you? >> oh, it's wonderful to be able to feel the immediate response. even subtle gasps. you know -- (gasping) -- or pushbacks in their seats
12:18 am
or they're offends by something and you can feel it. and sometimes you go in for the jugular, as lyndon would, as he could sense blood in the water. >> charlie: he knew what you needed and wanted and were scared of. >> yes, and he fed into that. >> charlie: there is this with lincoln and the great performance we saw by daniel lewis who won an academy award. he had photographs and history books. but you had a very live multi-volume biography. >> yes. >> charlie: you had audio recordings. >> yes. >> charlie: people who knew him. >> right. >> charlie: video of him in action and speeches -- >> so there's no excuse for me to be bad. is that where you're going with that? (laughter) >> charlie: i mean, this was a piece of cake! i mean, come on! (laughter) but there's this, he is my
12:19 am
height, 6'3" or 4. you are less than that. >> i'm just at 6'. >> charlie: but everyone talks about that, that they sense the towering presence of him. how did you come up with the idea of being able to suggest that lyndon johnson physically towered over those people? >> 3-inch lifts. i have shoes that i have lifts in. i'll tell you a secret. last night i had another conversation with the head of wardrobe, jessica, and i said, i want you to go into everyone's wardrobe, grab their shoes and take the heels of their shoes down another inch. don't even tell them. but i want -- and i was serious -- i said, take them down because the johnson treatment -- that was a big part of it. he used his size and girth to be able to intimidate and he got -- you know, he invaded their
12:20 am
space. >> charlie: he was like this. he was right in on people and he'd bend people backwards. >> charlie: there's a famous photograph with the senator from rhode island, he's leaning back. johnson leans forward, and he leans back. >> and it could be in a good way. >> charlie: he's laughing or smiling or a poke in the chest. >> yes. >> charlie: it's helpful to have all that material. >> it is. i don't have his girth either. he was always battling his weight. he had terrible eating habits. it just wasn't important to him. eating was sustenance. >> charlie: it was politics that was important. >> politics. and i have two-inch lifts that get me close. i have height envy of you. when i saw you today, i said, damn you! you and your 6'3" frame. >> charlie: and i wish i had your talent. it's a tradeoff. >> i also have prosthetic ear
12:21 am
lobes. >> charlie: droopy like a dog. and i put on the ear lobes that give me an extra inch. every inch matters. >> charlie: wouldn't you love to have a conversation with him. >> yes. >> charlie: and what would you ask? >> hmm -- well, i think the most important thing -- i would probably ask something that no one else would ask him, or that i would think no one else would ask him, and that would be something like a childhood memory. i would want to get into, say, you know, what was your -- what's your first pet? what was your first, you know, thing that you ever really got so excited about? >> charlie: that's good. i used to be the producer for bill moyers and we went to do an interview with jimmy carter when he had just gotten the nomination, and the campaign
12:22 am
hadn't really started, and bill and i talked about it. and bill asked him about first memories about growing up in plains. and it was almost like then candidate carter went back -- he was back in that time and place. so then the emotional charge of the interview was elevated because he had engaged the interview. >> yeah. >> charlie: it wasn't just a political interview. it was this is where i came from. >> yes. >> charlie: and your instinct. the thing i would love to explore with him. it is the notion of where his fear was. where was his fear, you know, and where was his vulnerability. and we know of his connection to his mother, those kinds of things, which would give us an idea of the balance of insecurity and overconfidence. >> his mother rebecca whom he admired and loved but was also very strict for the time, she
12:23 am
was the disciplinarian and the tough one of the family. there were times when she would withhold affection from young lyndon if she was displeased with his behavior, grades or whatever the case may be and would almost be like he's not in the room, just like he's invisible. i don't hear him, i don't see him and, to a young boy, that created such an emptiness and an extreme desire to be loved, and that's what i found to be the emotional core of lyndon johnson. >> charlie: the need to be loved. >> the need to be loved. the need... the absolute desperate desire to be loved. >> charlie: the interesting thing, as people say, you know, i didn't necessarily like him, but i loved him. >> yeah.
12:24 am
>> charlie: you know. because i knew beyond all this stuff, the ends justifies the means. >> well, and that's what it is. the end was so valuable and altruistic and important, but the means that he got there were treacherous. >> charlie: yeah. and unapologetic, and he would just take your nose and rub it into your own fecal matter (laughter) he didn't care. oh, my god, he was just unbelievable, some of the things he would do. >> charlie: i believe schenkkan said l.b.j. was the life of the party, violent, vialvileand utterly terrible. is there any link between walter white and lyndon johnson in just strains of personality, one real and one fictional.
12:25 am
>> walter white is real -- (laughter) no, lyndon johnson was real, too. >> charlie: in the minds of people became real and perhaps you, too. >> well, he was real to me. >> charlie: yeah. i can't play someone unless you make him real and honest to you. yeah, there are similarities. i think both had created and allowed the incredible drive and ambition to be unleashed. >> charlie: and just t end justifies the means. i can do whatever i want to -- >> it's for my family. and lyndon johnson, it's for the bertment of the country. i am cutting your balls off for the betterment of the country! so you're a gelding now, just think what you accomplished! (laughter) >> charlie: it was necessary to protect the country. i know you know this scene if i can make it happen. >> go ahead.
12:26 am
hello. mr. hager? yes, this is general hager. general, is your phone the one that makes us close. >> yes, sir, we're all together. ou all made me some real light weight slacks, he just made up on his own, sent to me three or four months ago, kind of a light brown and a light green, rather soft green, soft brown. >> yes, sir. and they're real light weight. now, i need about six pairs for summer wear. >> do you recall the exact size? i want to get them right for you. >> no, i don't know. y'all just guessed at them, i think. don't you have the measurements there? >> we'll find them for you. i can send you a pair. i want them a half inch larger in the waist than there were before except i want two or three inches of stuff left back in there so i can take them up. i vary 10 or 15 pounds a month. >> all right. so leave me at least two or
12:27 am
three inches in the back where i can let them and take them up, make these half an inch bigger in the waist and the pockets at least an inch longer. my money and knife and everything fall out. wait a minute. the pockets, when you sit down in the chair, the knife and your money comes out, so i need it at least another inch in the pockets. >> that will be fine. now, another thing, the crotch, down where your nuts hang, it's always a little too tight. so when you make 'em up, give me an inch that i can let out there because they cut me. it's just like riding a wire fence. these are the best i've had anywhere in the united states, but when i gain a little weight, they cut me under there. believe me, you never do have much margin there. see if you can't leave me about an inch from where the zipper is around under the back of my bunghole so i can let it out there if i need to.
12:28 am
>> all right. >> charlie: there you go. the president of the united states talking. (laughter) >> charlie: talking to his tailor. >> to his tailor, hager. and you can tell he's eating and drinking, chewing, doing three or four or five things at one time which he always did, and -- but he got involved in every little detail. the measurement. he wanted an inch more deeper in his pockets. >> charlie: so my nuts can hang, like riding on a wire! >> and telling at the time, so my pocket knife doesn't fall out. the president of the united states carrying a pocket knife. you never know when i'm gonna have to whittle! i mean, i'm gonna cut this budget! that's what i'm gonna do! >> charlie: how did you get the voice? >> well, going down to the hill country helps a lot and just being open to it and listening to it and, of course, there's
12:29 am
the basic thing is dropping the -ing, listnin', walkin', figurin'. you have the hard r of the west versus the soft r of the south, but with a twang to it, and gunna, and git goin', g-i-t. >> charlie: do you do this on your own or with somebody who understands dialect? >> i did it on my own and deaf a dialectition who helps us, cut this word, draw this one out. it really helps. just being open to it and listening. >> charlie: tell me about the satisfaction of being on stage,
12:30 am
having people in the audience everyday, having a chance to mold it and shape it and find a way to change it one night if you want to. >> is deeply gratifying. this is my joy. i love to act. i love to come to the theater. so a day off is great for rest. >> charlie: and you don't speak on your day off. >> i don't speak on monday. good thing it's not a monday. >> charlie: would be a bad interview, questions and no answers (laughter) >> yeah, it would be terrible. but i look forward to coming to the theater. >> charlie: when you come for an evening performance -- >> i'm here an hour and a half before the curtain. usually people get here half an hour before the curtain and get into their costumes quickly, i suppose. i'm the first one here, and i take my time. i put my own makeup on and my ears and do my hair.
12:31 am
>> charlie: you've done that for always? >> on this show, yeah. you know, in film and television, you have people doing that for you, but you're there much earlier. >> charlie: yes. for walter white, i'm usually in the makeup and hair chair 5:30, 6:00 in the morning every morning, and i sit there -- >> charlie: 5:30 or 6:00? yeah. >> charlie: those are my hours. >> i know! >> charlie: we also had good things happen later in life. you were 51 before you started. >> yeah, well i turned 50 when we were doing "breaking bad." i turned 40 when we were doing "malcolm in the middle." >> charlie: right. i think it helped. you know, i know that this business owes me nothing. this life owes me nothing. everything that you are able to achieve, it's a gift, and i never forget that. i know that there are acting
12:32 am
careers that sometimes go nowhere. i have no idea why this happened to me. i love it and i'm always involved in it, but there's a tremendous amount of luck that is necessary to have a successful career. >> charlie: does pain change things? >> oh, it does. >> charlie: how so? in many good ways and in many not so good ways. i never sought fame. i never seek fame. it's a by-product of what i love to do. the good things -- well, first of all, financial security. >> charlie: right. i would never have to work another day in my life, but i don't work for money anyway. i have people who are incentivized to have me earn a good living, so i trust them, and i don't even know what i'm making doing this play. >> charlie: you really don't? i know the ballpark, but they're talking about it and -- >> charlie: you never read the contract? >> no, i don't read the
12:33 am
contracts. >> charlie: yeah. i say this -- >> charlie: i don't either. i say to my agent, are you happy? and if they go, well, i think we can get more. i said, i don't want to sound like, oh, no, i need -- i don't need money, i don't like money. no, money is great. but it's not what motivates me. >> charlie: there's a time you liked to go out and observe, go to the mall, for example, i'm told, and just see how people are, get a sense of things that might play, might be tools to use in your performance. >> that's an actor's job, observing human behavior. i tell young actors, if you're bored ever, you're not doing enough work. you've got to get out there and do work. well, what can i do if i'm not actually acting? i said, work, work, work. you can go to an airport or a restaurant or a mall or anyplace
12:34 am
and you observe human behavior, and you take it in and you say, oh, that couple is silently arguing. how fascinating to watch them not say a word but you know -- >> charlie: and the difference in men talking to men and women talking to women. >> or a man on the make, the energy that changes, or the flirtation that she may be showing -- or not, you know. >> charlie: all human behavior. >> all human behavior and, no matter what the condition, you could be working. but the interesting thing about fame -- and i was talking to daviddavid about this, and he sa very interesting thing -- once the observer becomes the observed, your cover is blown. you can't because their behavior changes. >> charlie: that's right. if i'm recognized, they change their behavior and all bets are off. so it makes it harder for me to
12:35 am
be able to do that. >> charlie: somebody told me about a great acting coach that would basically ask young actors to stand up and walk around and because they were thinking about walking, it would be a very sense of being observed, they would have a consciousness of being observed, so their walking would be affected. they would then ask them to think about something else, and once they began thinking about something else, they didn't have a sense of being observed in that thought and the walk would change. >> the walk became more natural. that's why you go on stage, you have to have a thought of what is my objective for this, you know, any given point? what's just happening? what do i need to do? so that you're not thinking, how am i sitting, how am i -- you know, otherwise, you become self-conscious about those things and you're not doing your work. >> charlie: what are your dreams? now that we've seen "breaking bad" have all this success, which i was lucky enough to be part of, thank you very much. >> yes, you were! in the final episode!
12:36 am
>> charlie: next to the final. for us, it's always been science first and -- >> would you -- would you -- would you go back, please. there. >> what, here? -- the way things turned out. but just yesterday your charity, gretchen schwartz foundation announce add $28 million grant for drug abuse treatment centers throughout the southwest! >> charlie, the southwest is our home and we couldn't just ignore what's going on in our own backyard. >> charlie: but i'm sure you're aware that there are people who suggest other motives. in "the new york times" there was a column suggesting the grant was a publicity maneuver to shore up the stock price of grey matter technologies because of your association with water
12:37 am
white -- walter white. >> well, that's not exactly. >> charlie: to cleanse yourself as having a methamphetamine kingpin as co-founder of your company. >> charlie, i'm glad you brought that up. i have to believe the investing public understands we're talking about a person who was there early on and had nothing to do with the creation of the company and less with growing it into what it is today. >> charlie: so what was walter white's contribution. >> to be honest -- honey. he company name. your appearance gave it credence, a sense of this is real. >> charlie: well, thank you. but the point was this was so huge, "breaking bad." i mean, you know, i'd never seen anything like it in terms of how people took note of the fact that somehow your opinion associate -- youwere associatedg bad" and somehow you understood
12:38 am
that. so you look back on that experience and, obviously, it shaped your life. >> i knew when i read that pilot script by vince gillgan that there was something very special there. i knew it was special, but there's no way -- >> charlie: it's just that good a script. >> it was terrific. and i related to this man. i knew men like him who missed opportunities in their lives and became functioning -- still functioning, still loving to their family, still paying their bills, but there is something that died in the interior, and they're putting one step in front of the other. they're in a deep depression. and in doing some of the research, i found that, you know, in broad strokes, when people are in deep depression, there are two basic ways it manifests either externally or internally. either internally, that boss
12:39 am
screwed me, otherwise my life would be completely different, ready to fight, blame my ex-wife -- >> charlie: someone else's fault. >> -- yes, or it's me and i missed it, and i go into a shell. and that was walter white. he went into a shell. he didn't care about his looks. he didn't care about his weight. he didn't care about his clothes. nothing mattered to him. he was invisible to himself and the world. this ironic diagnosis of terminal cancer was his get out of jail free card. it exploded his emotion. >> charlie: it gave him reason and purpose. >> to live, even if it's just for a short period of time. >> you are in over your head. that's what we tell them. that's the truth! >> that's not the truth. of course it is! a school teacher, cancer, desperate for money. >> we're done. unable to even quit.
12:40 am
you told me that yourself, walt! walt, please! let's both of us stop trying to justify this whole thing and admit you're in danger! >> who are you talking to right now? who is it you think you see? do you know how much i make a year? i mean, even if i told you, you wouldn't believe it. do you know what would happen if i sendly decided to stop going into work? a business big enough that it could be listed on the nasdaq goes belly up, disappears. it ceases to exist without me. no, you clearly don't know who you're talking to. so let me clue you in -- i am not in danger, schuyler. i am the danger! a guy opens his door and gets shot and you think of me. now, i am the one who knocks! >> those last two years of his
12:41 am
life were full and exciting and i don't think he would have traded it. >> charlie: and he acknowledged it in the end. >> he acknowledged it in the end. >> charlie: i love it. i loved it. it was for me. i was good at it, and that's the brilliance of vince's writing, to have him confess to that hubris, to that ego. and it was a full, you know, maturation, if you can say that, of that character, that he came to completely understand who he was and the evil that men do. >> charlie: your father was one of those men. >> physically. >> charlie: just physically? yeah, i always felt walter white was much older than he was chronologically, so i wanted to give him sloped shoulders and, you know, his posture was bad and he was a little overweight, so i wanted to give him the weightiness of a man who is 25, 30 years old.
12:42 am
>> charlie: closely identify. my upbringing was a mess. it was like living two different lives. up until ten years old, it was a model life. >> charlie: because they were both there. >> both there. my dad was always one of our coaches in sports, taking us places. my mom was the team mom and the upper ware lady and p.t.a. -- tupperware lady and p.t.a. and making our costumes -- and when we realized my dad didn't want to be with my mother anymore it exploded. it wasn't like coming to an understanding, it exploded, and their emotional immaturity damaged the rest of the structure, and i didn't see my father for ten years.
12:43 am
>> charlie: no phone call, no nothing? >> no, didn't see him. he had a breakdown. he was late 40s. >> charlie: was it about success? >> i think it was. i think it was about the lack of success. i think it was his frustration at not being -- he was an actor and it was about his frustration of not being a star. he wanted to be a star, like a lot of people, and he didn't handle it well when he was getting to be a certain age. i mean, i'm sure there is complications that are much deeper than that that i wasn't privy to and, you know, he's of a generation where revealing those inner thoughts, men would rather go to their grave thano thano -- than to admit what they consider weakness. >> charlie: to not be a star is a weakness. >> or to be able to say i felt this and i was -- you know, but
12:44 am
he'll, to this day, now -- and he's nearly 90 -- >> charlie: he's seeing everything good happening to you. >> he's seen it all. >> charlie: regardless of the relationship, all of us want to say, i did okay, dad. >> yeah. and he's extremely proud. extremely proud. and he's changed, as men do. tough old guard guys soften with age. he cries openly now. >> charlie: what's interesting about lyndon johnson, lyndon johnson, who went back to the texas hill country after saying he would not run for another term, started smoking again. >> mm-hmm. >> charlie: you know, you get this from robert, and knew he was nailing a nail into his coffin. what was that about?
12:45 am
>> he was a great prognosticator. he knew he was going to die of a heart attack. >> charlie: he'd already had two already. >> he knew he was going to die of a heart attack and he did at 64 years old. >> charlie: 64! which is young. >> charlie: young. but he knew he was going to die, so it was like courting death. maybe that's why he thought, to hell with it, it's gonna happen anyway! (laughter) but had he run for reelection and won in '68, he would have died three days after his term would have ended. so he died in january of 1973, but if he were elected to a second term in the presidency, i think he would have died in office and so did lady bird. lady bird thought the amount of stress and the way vietnam was
12:46 am
rolling out, he just was not capable of commanding that war. he was not able to know how to end that war. >> charlie: you just wonder -- i mean, when you think of what that meant to the country, it tore the country apart -- >> unbelievable. >> charlie: -- and how much he hated it because he had -- his drive was to do something about education and poverty and all those things that roosevelt wanted to do, his great political mentor -- >> right. >> charlie: -- and he did. he accomplished those things. you would hope somehow, in a case like that, somebody, for all of us, if we're at a place where we're doing the wrong things, whether destructive or not, and just think of seymore hoffman, addiction. >> lyndon's addiction was
12:47 am
politics. he never read a book, didn't go to the theater, the concerts or sporting events. >> charlie: only baseball to court richard russell. >> have a photo op, throw out the ball or something. but his arena was politics. the only books were biographies of presidents he admired, maybe he gleaned something from that. he was a machine of politics and he had true, good, altruistic intentions, and he didn't care how he got there, he just wanted to get the end result. and his accomplishments domestically are unparalleled from roosevelt's. >> charlie: the people who loved him loved him because they said he was larger than life. but in the end, they knew that however despicable he might be in terms of personality at the moment, that his heart in the end was in the right place. >> and he got things done. >> charlie: yeah, which brings me to the president obama
12:48 am
comparison. you know, the constant part of the political conversation, if only the president were more like lyndon johnson, he would be able to do more with the republicans in the congress. >> well, i think that's unfair to our president. >> charlie: and so does he. well, i think it is unfair to say why can't you be more like this man? he is his own man. i think there's two distinct differences that don't allow the system to work as it did in johnson's day. one is our president's own past experience. he didn't have the years in the house of representatives and the senate that johnson had. johnson had 12 years in the house, 12 years in the senate, rose to the most powerful position in the senate before taking on the vice presidency. so he knew all the players, knew everything about them, what they
12:49 am
wanted, knew their wives, would be able to break the ice and say, how's margaret? is she okay? i know she had a bad hip. well, thank you, mr. president. now, listen, we need to get that bill -- he'd catch them. he just complimented my wife, now i have to help. president obama has the experience he didn't have all those years. the second thing, i don't think the temperament, the attitude and the sensibility in johnson's days -- and this is just my opinion -- was this is politics, it is a horse trade, if you want to get something that you really need and want for the betterment of the country, it's gonna cost you. now, where -- >> charlie: it's a transaction. >> yes, you do something for me. blood, sweat, tears to get that done. now, it's arms folded, we're not even going to compliment the
12:50 am
other side. >> charlie: and it's a zero sum game. if i succeed you fail. >> i think the wrong point of view is applied here. ning johnson's day, in -- i think in johnson's day, in that era, the intention was let's do something for the betterment of the country. now, it's let's win. we're doing something to win, for our side to win. is that best for the country? it's many times not. so i think our president is unfortunate to be, in this day and age, to live in that kind of cesspool of attitude. >> charlie: he knew the game but also he had majority and also the fact that people wanted the country to do well after the tragic assassination of president kennedy. >> johnson knew he had that window of opportunity. >> charlie: the other thing that's fascinating to me is the idea of bobby kennedy.
12:51 am
and here is a guy with all that he had, became vice president, and all of a sudden was diminished. >> lyndon johnson hated being vice president. compared to the senate majority leader, it was an impotent role. so then why did he take it? well, i think that he got trounced by kennedy in the primaries, and he saw the handwriting on the wall. he thought, my opportunity to get in to become president is limited by age. you know, king arthur just came in -- >> charlie: camelot. okay, so he's going to be president. he's going to be president for eight years. whoever his vice president is will have tin side track -- the inside track -- not necessarily
12:52 am
guaranteed, but the inside track to be the next president for eight years. so if i'm going to get in, i look 16 years down the road and i miss my window of opportunity. so i think it was a calculated move on his part to say, i have to bite the bullet, accept the vice presidency, bring the south with me and bide my time and, hopefully, in eight years get the nod. >> that's why i want you to be the floor manager of this bill. >> floor manager? mm-hmm. i assume the senate majority leader would be -- >> oh, mike's a good man but i need someone more personable. people like him, hubert. hell, even dick russell likes you. >> really? yeah! you know, i'm under a lot of pressure to announce my rainingmate for the e-- runningmate for the election. people tell me i ought to pick bobby kennedy but i'm not sure of his loyalty. there was a time not so long ago when him and the rest of his
12:53 am
harvard blue bloods would look down his nose at me like i was a country bump kin. >> charlie: what's your ambition after this? what is it that bryan cranston needs to do? >> rest. i do. i need to rest. i go pretty hard at it, and it's so much fun. i'm having a great time, but i think, when this is over, when i finally leave the stage for the last time all the way, i'm going to collapse (laughter) you know, your body has a tendency to hold on, hold on, hold on! it's a very physically and emotionally demanding thing, i love putting it all out there, but i think i just want to relax for a while and let it rest and see what happens next. >> charlie: thank you for doing this. >> i so appreciate it. >> charlie: great to see you,
12:54 am
thank you. >> they show up for school every day, dirty, ragged, hungry because most of them haven't had any breakfast! but they were so on fire to learn! it just -- ahhh! just made you feel good! but there would come a day for each and every one of them when i would see the light in their eyes die because they discovered the world hated them just because to have the color of their skin. now, as a southerner, i've had to bite my tongue on this issue my entire life until my mouth was full of blood. well, not anymore. what the hell's important being president if you can't do what you know is right? this ain't about the constitution! this is about those who got more wanting to hang on to what they got at the expense of those who got nothin' and feel good about it!
12:55 am
uncle dick, he could talk about his riots until he is blue in the face! but all i see are the faces of those little kids in cotula. well, he's right about one thing, though... the war has just begun. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
12:56 am
12:57 am
12:58 am
12:59 am
1:00 am
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. >> stocks are not after hitting all-time highs stocks drop like a rock. the nasdaq tumbles, dragging even the bluest of the blue chips down with it. why and is there more selling ahead? the labor market hits a milestone. american businesses have regained all the jobs lost to the recession. after adding almost 200,000 in march, who's wihiring and what does it mean for the economy? we have all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for friday, april 4th. and we bid you good evening, everybody. i'm bill griffith. >> i'm susie gharib. topping our news tonight, a nasty selloff on wall street today. the selling came despite a ng


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on